"Many of my staff members are experiencing more stress and anxiety now than when the pandemic started. I’m not sure how to handle this. What do I do?”
These are difficult times, and it’s not surprising that many employees are experiencing significantly higher levels of stress than they did prior to the pandemic. In addition to—or in response to—higher levels of anxiety, many people are reevaluating their priorities, and this includes their employment.
The Society for Human Resource Management has given the term “Turnover Tsunami” to the phenomenon organizations are seeing with staff resignations. New candidates are asking whether positions can be performed fully remote, and if they can’t, they are no longer interested. Staff are saying they want more input in their jobs and decision-making, business casual or casual office attire, and more flexible hours.
Keeping Staff Happy
The first response to any current staff member experiencing increased levels of anxiety should be to respond with empathy. Everyone is different; we all respond to stress and anxiety differently. We can’t expect people to respond the way we want; we can only expect them to respond as who they are.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended in 2009, anxiety and other mental and/or emotional health issues can be considered a disability if they limit one or more life functions. This might include an inability to sleep, a lack of concentration, a fear of interacting with the public, and other limitations.
If your association is covered under the ADA and an employee mentions suffering from anxiety or depression, suggest that the employee seek professional attention. The employee might need to go on short-term disability or make use of another accommodation.